It isn’t hard to see that Jesus was outwardly contagious. However, we also want to explore what it means for faith to be inwardly contagious, to spread to every part of someone’s life. You may be thinking “Of course faith was in every aspect of Jesus’ life. He was God.” But he was also human.
Before Jesus began his ministry, he “was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matt. 4:1) Forty days later, he still hadn’t eaten, probably hadn’t slept too well on the rocky ground, and was still alone. Then the tempter comes.
Jesus is given choices. He’s offered easy ways out of his mission and opportunities that sound better in the moment. At a time of extreme physical weakness when it would have been easy to give in, he stood firm in Scripture, said no to the temptation, and held fast to God’s promises. And that was before he even started his ministry. How was he so empowered from the very beginning?
He was prepared.
There are a couple of brief “snapshots” from his childhood in Luke 2. The first is when his parents brought him to the temple for purification. Basically, they were fulfilling God’s laws about firstborn children. After they had done everything according to the law they went home “And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.” (v. 40)
The next is when Jesus travelled with his parents to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. His parents headed home after the feast, but Jesus stayed behind and “After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions” (v. 46). He was twelve. Yet he was hungry to learn and grow and be in his “Father’s house” (v. 49). And “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (v. 52).
Jesus devoted his life and prepared for his goal. Then he was able to withstand Satan’s temptation. Then he was able to begin his ministry.
So, as we begin to pursue audacious Kingdom goals, we need to consider whether or not the promise of the Kingdom being now is changing the way we live daily. That means looking at our daily interactions with others and the consistent choices we make, not just the big events and goals that we’re working towards. There are going to be temptations and struggles, and without a firm foundation it may be easy to give up. If we don’t invite Jesus into our everyday actions, how will we be able to trust him as he guides us into larger challenges?
Jesus is the foundation beneath a lasting movement of justice (Isaiah 28:16-17 and Ephesians 2:19-21). Is he your foundation? How might you need to spend some time preparing and building on His foundation?